Our Matrix Bathrooms/Kennedy's Supermacs sponsored Senior Men's team claimed the Fahey Cup for a record 21st time against St. Brigid’s on Sunday 14th October 2018. A tight affair, Clann powered ahead in the final third of the match to crown a tremendous performance with a 12 point victory over our near neighbours who were going for three-in-a-row.
The match had a frantic opening five minutes. An early goal for Ciaran Lennon after great work by Emmet Kenny was cancelled out by a Brian Stack point and Senan Kilbride goal. Clann lost Darra Pettit to an innocuous black card, however, Feargal Lennon made his return from injury and was a worthy replacement at corner back.
The first half was a feisty and evenly contested affair with scores being cancelled out on both sides and great excitement for the huge Clann support that made the trip to Dr. Hyde Park. There was some stand out performances by many Clann players, notably Jack Connaughton who often put his head where many wouldn't put a toe. Donal Shine was ever reliable with the dead ball and Cathal Shine, who was a late inclusion after injury to David Flynn, was always first to the high ball. At half-time, Clann held a commendable lead at 1-09 to 1-07.
The second half started as the first half finished, with very little between both sides. However, a five minute period shifted the momentum of the Final in Clann’s favour. In the 40th minute, St. Brigid’s broke through the Clann defence and a powerful shot rattled the woodwork and over for a point, relief for Clann that it wasn’t under the crossbar. Jack Connaughton collected the resulting kick-out and was hit with a dangerous should to the face by Cunniffe, St. Brigid’s receiving their first of two red cards in the match.
Even though St. Brigids grabbed another point to level the game, Clann didn’t panic. A short kick-out was played up the field to Jamie Fahy, who made a darting run inside the opposing box and squared the ball for veteran Johnny Dunning to palm into the net. A bizarre moment followed where the St. Brigid’s keeper slipped with the resulting kick-out and the ball fell into the arms of Cathal Callinan who coolly lobbed the keeper into the back of the net from 40 meters out. Viral.
Two quick-fire goals from the two substitutes left Clann with a six-point lead and 15 minutes remaining. Clann powered on from there and reduced St. Brigids to just two more points in the game. An exhibition of football followed with Clann picking up a further 1-05, including an injury time penalty goal for Donal Shine after substitute Séa Henry was taken down in the area.
Joyous scenes greeted the final whistle as players celebrated and fans raced to join them. Donal Shine was presented the Fahey Cup by County Board Vice-Chairman, none other than Padraig Naughton, and Donal lifted the cup high for Clann na nGael.
In his acceptance speech, Donal was quick to acknowledge one of our longest serving players, David Flynn, who was unable to travel to be with his teammates in Dr. Hyde Park, such was the gravity of his back injury. We hope David makes a swift recovery and can get back on the pitch soon. We also wish Matt Scally a speedy recovery after he sustained a punctured lung in our Semi-Final victory over Roscommon Gaels.
The Fahey Cup made the trip south and was welcomed back to Johnstown with jubilant scenes from a packed clubhouse of support. The celebrations went long into the night and will be long remembered as one of the great days in the history of this great club.
It is nights such as these we remember club members who are no longer with us and their absence was felt in the clubhouse, most notably Donal Shine Snr, Mike Durney, Johnny O’Neill, Lisa Dolan and Cathriona Meehan, who were all there to celebrate our last triumph in 2015. We also offer our sincere condolences to former Clann player PJ Shine on the death of his wife, Bernadette. Ar dheis De go raibh a h-anam dilis.
Clann now progress to the Connacht Championship where we will face the winners from London on Sunday 4th November. We wish Feargal, his management team and players the very best of luck and we have no doubt they will continue to do us proud!
Squad: Ronan O’Reilly, Darra Pettit, Stephen Flynn, David Flynn, Jack Connaughton, Shane Pettit, Ronan Gavin, Ultan Harney, Graham Pettit, Emmet Kenny, Donal Shine, David Connaughton, Jamie Fahy, Ciaran Lennon, David McManus, David Finneran, Darragh Egan, Damien Duff, Cathal Shine, Ross Naughton, Cian McManus, Cathal Callinan, Sea Henry, Niall Connaughton, Johnny Dunning, Kieran Connaughton, Darragh Kildea, Feargal Lennon, Patrick Harney, Matt Scally, Conor Farrell, Oisin Lennon.